As we set out on our last porewater sampling trip of the 2017 summer, I get a bittersweet feeling. I’m happy about all the progress we’ve made on Dani’s saltwater intrusion project, and proud of all I have contributed to the study, but I know I’ll miss spending every other week on Maryland’s beautiful Eastern Shore. Over the summer I have met some awesome people, and I’m grateful that half the time “another day at the office” meant knee-high boots and a machete, but I think I’ll miss the marsh wildlife the most.
Growing up I was always outside looking for snakes, frogs, and bugs, and when I had to be inside I was watching animal planet or reading National Geographic. I left no stone unturned…literally. Instead of growing out of this fascination with life, I only became more interested as I got older, and now I own field guides for just about any critter in North America. The marsh and forests on the shore are rich with animals, and participating in this study was a perfect opportunity to pursue my love for environmental science, and to get up close and personal with the fauna. I must say the mosquitos, deer flies, and chiggers got a little too up-close and personal at times, but it was all worth it. After four water sampling trips and a soil sampling “campaign,” I think we all were starting to feel like marsh wildlife ourselves.
Working with the AgroEcoLab has been an amazing experience, and I look forward to continuing our work into the fall semester, but I will miss the wildlife of the Eastern Shore. In all we’ve rescued four turtles in the middle of the road, hopefully that’s enough good karma to last us until we can get back down there.
- by John Dietrich